It’s not uncommon for a new mom to wonder why her newborn farts a lot but doesn’t seem to be pooping?
There are a few different factors to think about when determining if your baby’s lack of poop is an issue.
How often should a breastfed/formula fed baby under one-year-old poo?
Once born, and past the meconium (first poop) stage, but not quite at one month of age, babies who are breastfed tend to have a bowel movement after each feeding.
Formula-fed newborn babies, on the other hand, typically have fewer bowel movements, at about four to five a day during the first few weeks of life.
How to know if your baby is constipated and is it normal?
If, at about one month of age, your newborn farts a lot but doesn’t poop, don’t freak out just yet.
It is not uncommon for an exclusively breastfed infant to not have a bowel movement for several days to a week.
However, if they do go a week or longer without a single bowel movement, it’s probably a good idea to contact your pediatrician.
Formula-fed babies need to be watched more closely for signs of constipation, as they are more prone to it due to formula being harder to digest.
A formula fed baby will usually have about one stool a day.
If your baby is formula-fed and has not had a bowel movement in three to four days, you may want to contact your pediatrician.
Signs of Constipation in newborns
There are many different tell-tell signs of constipation in babies.
If your newborn is farting a lot but not pooping, that could be the very first sign, but here are some more conclusive ones:
Fewer or More Bowel Movements than Usual:
Although your baby’s age is a good factor to go off of, their own individual habits can be even better if changes are recent.
If your baby often has two bowel movements a week but is now only pooping once a week or every other week especially, this may be a cause for concern.
Writing down in a log your baby’s poop schedule may be helpful.
Maybe the most common sign of constipation in formula-fed babies is hard stools.
Breastfed babies, however, do not typically get hard stools, so they may show different signs of constipation.
Pain or Straining:
A baby straining when trying to poop is a clear sign of constipation.
Watch and listen to your baby to know if they are grunting a lot and becoming red-faced while pooping.
If so, they are definitely dealing with constipation.
When backed up, your baby is bound to get a hard, firm belly. If you press down on their belly, and it feels very pressurized, the most likely cause is constipation.
Constipation and painful bowel movements can cause discomfort can result in your baby not feeling like eating.
Sometimes a constipated baby will go hours with eating food.
Although a very small amount of blood can be normal during constipation and from fissures caused by straining, significant amounts can be bad.
If there is blood all throughout your baby’s stool, its best to see their pediatrician to make sure they are okay.
Newborn farts a lot, is that normal?
Now you may be wondering, “So, why is my baby farting so much?”
Well, a baby farts quite often and it is typically not something to worry too much about.
Common causes of newborn farting can include spicy food intake by the mom during breastfeeding, the swallowing of air when feeding, consumption of citrus fruit juices, or crying a lot.
How often is normal or not?
Farts are simply many different poo particles passing through in the form of air.
If your baby is usually very happy-go-lucky but gets fussy when gassy, they are most likely fine.
However, a baby who is crying excessively throughout being gassy and also while not gassy, this means they are extra gassy and probably in some pain.
If a baby is burping, farting, extra bloated, seems to have cramps and/or a firm tummy, they are really constipated.
How can a parent prevent and make gas go away?
Although a growing digestive tract means constipation will subside with age
there are several things mommy and daddies can do in order to prevent and help relieve gas in their baby now.
#1 Lowering the intake of gas-inducing foods for both a solid-food eating baby and a breastfeeding mother is advised.
Breastfeeding moms can pass very spice foods on to the baby through their milk.
Consuming foods like legumes or cruciferous veggies can also cause gas in the baby.
A lot of citrus fruits and dairy are associated with high levels of gas in a baby as well.
Moderation with all gas producing food is a good rule of thumb.
#2 Hold your baby in an upright position when breastfeeding to ensure they are swallowing correctly and not swallowing air bubbles, which can cause gas.
If formula-feeding, look for bottles with larger nipples and preferably minimized air bubble designs.
#3 Lower their intake of fruit juice, specifically fruit juice from concentrate in order to reduce gas in your baby.
#4 Introduce semi-solid and solid food gradually to lessen the chance for digestion issues.
Your baby’s digestive system needs some time to get familiar with new foods and enzymes.
#5 Hold your baby and console them.
Excessive crying, as mentioned, is another cause for farting in babies.
The most obvious way to prevent this is to pick them up and console them or feed them on demand.
This has been found to be the healthiest way for babies, especially newborns to find comfort, and therefore, be less gassy.
#6 Home Remedies can be helpful.
So many parents have found success in relieving gas in their baby with natural home remedies that have been proven to work.
One of these natural remedies, called “gripe water” can be bought stores.
With ingredients like fennel seed extract and ginger root extract, gripe water can be extremely helpful in preventing and remedying gas, bloating, and constipation.
At what point should parents contact a doctor/pediatrician?
Considering a baby’s digestive tract is so small, it is no wonder they tend to experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal functions.
At times though, it does need to be closely monitored by parents, as there can be a bigger health issue at play.
If your baby is having a very rough time getting farts out, if they have a fever, endless fussiness, or infrequent urination, this may be one of those times.
Seeing your infant’s doctor can help to ascertain if there is a medical condition they are struggling with.
If not, go about it like you would normal constipation.
The most important things you should immediately see the pediatrician for are:
- Lack of bowel movements for more than one to a few days, depending on their age
- Bloody stools
- Incessant crying or fussiness with little to no periods of calm
- High temperature and rectal temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which can be a signal of an infection
In very rare instances, an infant may have gastrointestinal issues if their gas is persisting.
If you’re like me, as a parent, all of this information on baby farts may have you over-thinking things.
To summarize, if your newborn farts a lot, but is not pooping, there is usually no reason be alarmed.
Newborns should be pooping several times a day, especially if breastfed; Formula-fed newborns not quite as much.
At a few months in, babies will poop less, once every few days.
The takeaway here is if your newborn farts a lot, it is probably very normal unless accompanied by a lack of bowel movements after one week, blood in the stools, a fever, or inconsolable crying.
P.S. One last tip for a gassy baby that has worked many times for me as a parent of two, is doing bicycle legs and legs overhead exercises with your baby. (below you can find a vide example)
Be gentle of course!
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- Gripe Water for Babies: Does It Work?
- Infant Gas: How to Prevent and Treat It
- Best Remedies for Your Baby’s Constipation
- What are the signs of infant constipation?
- Choosing Wisely The Perfect Nipple Sizes For Your Baby’s Bottle!
Photo & Video credits: Jessi Davin.